From the Wires
YI Tunnel Successfully Enrolled to Microsoft Accelerator Beijing Cohort 11
By: PR Newswire
Mar. 9, 2018 08:16 PM
BEIJING, March 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- After having its application materials screened and going through at least two rounds of online and offline interviews over a period of 60-plus days, YI Tunnel, a provider of AI solutions for new retail, was successfully enrolled to Microsoft Accelerator Beijing Cohort 11. Getting enrolled to this program is said to be even harder than entering Harvard.
It is said that this cohort of the Microsoft Accelerator program had nearly one thousand candidate projects from 18 Chinese cities as well as countries and regions such as the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Eventually, 17 great startups including YI Tunnel were enrolled, and the enrollment rate was only 1.89 percent.
For this cohort of the Microsoft Accelerator Beijing program, the focus was on the combination between artificial intelligence (AI) and industrialization. All the 17 startups enrolled are AI companies. They are very much industry leaders and highly innovative in application scenarios.
For the Microsoft Accelerator's panel of judges, the team at YI Tunnel has a profound understanding of the retail industry and a lot of real-world experience, using really doable and innovative solutions to drive the digitization of retail and make it more intelligent. Especially, the judges believe that YI Tunnel is using the computer vision technology based on the Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) to digitize all the elements involved in offline retail such as people (customers), goods (merchandises), and facilities (stores), to build connections between them, and to eventually create a closed-loop for offline retail from data collection, data storage and data analysis to optimization and improvement.
"YI Tunnel is good at thinking about how to use technology to empower the retail industry based on scenarios," said YI Tunnel CEO Yili Wu. All the three existing key solutions of the company involve the integration between scenarios and technologies: the first is the world's first AI unattended cash register from YI Tunnel, which enables automatic checkout by "looking" and redefines the checkout experience; the second is the world's first pure vision-based AI vending machine redefining the automatic vending machines; and the third is the pure vision-based unattended store solution called Super YI with a cost far lower than that of global giant, which is set to redefine unattended stores. All the three solutions are being deployed in cooperation with China's top retailers.
Being successfully enrolled to Microsoft Accelerator Beijing will enable YI Tunnel to take advantage of Microsoft Accelerator's brand and resources to further accelerate the commercialization of its solutions.
YI Tunnel is a very business-savvy AI company delving deep into scenarios to empower retail with AI. In 2017, as the most remarkable dark horse in providing AI solutions for retail, YI Tunnel completed two rounds of fundraising in just 3 months, to get tens of millions of Yuan from Baidu Ventures, Fengshion, and Kinzon Capital.
The team currently has about 140 people. They have obtained the marking data for over one million SKUs. CEO Yili Wu graduated from the prestigious Tsinghua University. He is a "serial entrepreneur" who used to work for the e-commerce division of Oracle and IBM with approximately 11 years of experience in the retail industry. The core technical team has 20 members. Most of them are also the alumni of Tsinghua, like the founder Yili Wu. The company's Chief Strategic Advisor Michael Wan is a top expert in China's retail industry.
In December last year, YI Tunnel also collaborated with Tsinghua to build an AI-based algorithm platform for retail scenarios as well as a framework for the development and evaluation of basic algorithms under those scenarios. This will apply the cutting-edge academic results in the real-world industrial environment to accelerate the process of making retail intelligent.
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SOURCE YI Tunnel
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